Forty years ago today my friend Michael got in touch with me to tell me he had a dead bird for me. ‘It’s a Meadow Pipit’ he said excitedly. He came round to my house with it.
The poor bird had been blown into a fence and broken its neck. Michael cradled its lifeless form in his hand as I got my Zenith 3M camera out and took a photograph of it in the back yard of our Oldham terrace. It was beautiful.
Forty years later and I’m in Italy at the Laguna di Orbetello surrounded by Flamingoes and Spoonbills when I see a mottled brown bird. Surely it isn’t? Yes, it’s a Meadow Pipit, and this one is thankfully still alive. Its restless energy means it never stops moving, it’s darting here, darting there, moving its head, moving its tail and bustling in the grass.
It’s more beautiful when alive.